Cordray urges CEOs to give consumers more control over payments, cards

Register now

Richard Cordray is not going out meekly.

A week before he is due to resign, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sent a letter to 29 chief executives at banks, credit unions and other financial companies, urging them to help consumers exert more control over credit cards, debit cards and other payment methods.

"On the eve of my leaving the bureau, I urge you to think creatively about how you can put more control directly in the hands of your consumers," Cordray wrote. "This will help them as they worry about data breaches, and could help you minimize the incidents of fraudulent use of credit cards and debit cards and other payment methods."

Banks and fintech companies are working to strengthen security and protect consumer data after Equifax reported one of the worst data breaches in history. Equifax said Sept. 7 that hackers had accessed names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers for more than 145 million consumers.

Cordray has occasionally sent letters to the CEOs of financial companies in the past urging them to create bank accounts without overdraft features, or to share credit scores with consumers on a regular basis.

"There is enormous value in new technology that makes it feasible, right now, to enable consumers to exert much greater control over their credit cards, debit cards and other payment methods," he wrote.

He wrote that his suggestions, which are not considered regulatory guidance, would result in lower chargeoffs.

"We have not pressed these upon you as regulatory requirements, but as matters you would do well to consider as you seek to better serve your customers," he wrote.

Digital servicing platforms help discourage fraud, he said.

"Such platforms can allow consumers to exert greater control on their own spending and those they authorize to use their accounts by establishing settings that limit how, where, when and to what extent their accounts are accessed — and to do so much more easily and conveniently," Cordray wrote. "I believe your customers will want and demand this capability, and it is worth considering how you can prioritize the steps necessary to speed its availability to them."

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.
Credit cards Payments Card fraud Fraud losses Fraud liability Payment fraud Richard Cordray CFPB